Assange Extradition Hearing 2020: Day 17

September 30, 2020

Pre-Hearing

Day 17 from journalist @jlpassarelli: “Day 17 of the #AssangeHearing, with three days left, open justice has not been done in these proceedings. The Judge blocked 40 political and NGO observers (including @amensty & @RSF_inter) from monitoring the most important #FreeSpeech trial of the century.”

And my daily reminder that Belmarsh prison puts Assange through a five-hour ordeal every day just to take him to court which includes being handcuffed, strip-searched, and a three-hour round-trip transport. I’m wondering how many journalists and publishers out there that refuse to speak out on his behalf against this extradition request would feel if the U.S. arrested them tomorrow and put them through this punishment for simply practicing journalism. Especially those who used WikiLeaks documents in the past to bolster their work, image, or publications.

Defense Witness #30: Patrick Cockburn

Investigative journalist Patrick Cockburn’s witness statement was read today in court. According to journalist Mohamed Elmaazi, he talked about the significance of WikiLeaks including the War Logs and Collateral Murder, and that their publications “represent a great victory for freedom of expression in the face of government secrecy.”

Defense Witness #31: Ian Cobain

The witness statement of investigative journalist Ian Cobain (formerly at The Guardian) was read today in court. According to @DefenseAssange, Cobain’s statement included:

  • In 2010, his focus was on British collusion with U.S. renditions
  • Mistreatment of detainees following 9/11 (the “War on Terror”)
  • Without WikiLeaks it would have been near impossible to uncover crimes
  • Dangers faced by journalists for reporting on crime/abuses
  • “…leaks & whistleblowing remain a vital means for state crimes to be exposed”

Defense Witness #32: Stefania Maurizi

The witness statement of Italian investigative journalist Stefania Maurizi was read in court today. You can read a full background piece on her and her work at mintpressnews.com. She worked with WikiLeaks on both the Afghan War Logs and U.S. State Department cables. She mentioned in her statement how had it not been for WikiLeaks, Italy would not have been able to prosecute CIA/US officials for extraordinary rendition (Elmaazi noted that Italy is the only country in the world that has convicted U.S. citizens in relation to renditions. Most of them were CIA officers). Maurizi also reported in her statement that WikiLeaks provided evidence that the U.S. government pressured Italian authorities over these cases.

Maurizi also brought up David Leigh/Luke Harding and the whole password debacle with the unredacted cables and “wondered if they understood the procedure at all.” Indeed, the two men not only published WikiLeaks’ password in a book, they used it as a chapter title. “Keeping passwords private is a very basic security measure,” she said. She also repeated what other witnesses have said and that’s that Assange’s hands were tied once the password was out there and he was “clearly acutely troubled by the situation.”

Defense Witness #33: Robert Boyle

The witness statement of U.S. attorney Robert Boyle was read in court. He has “written on misuse of federal grand juries,” including a focus on Chelsea Manning’s case. More from Boyle:

  • Grand juries are used to pressure people into giving testimony
  • Failure to cooperate can lead to imprisonment for the duration of the grand jury (Manning)
  • Upon release, they can be called back again, refuse to testify again, and re-imprisoned (Manning)
  • Manning was held in solitary confinement for refusing to testify
  • The court then imposed on her $257,000 in fines!!
  • A second statement from Boyle talked about Manning’s continued imprisonment and the “deplorable conditions” she was kept under

Defense Witness #34: Bridget Prince

Bridget Prince is a jury consultant and the Director of One World Research. Her statement was read in court today which basically stated what we all know: If Assange were to face trial in the U.S. the jury pool would come from Alexandria, Virginia, the land of all things U.S. government and Military-industrial complex. Basically everyone and everything that’s been exposed in WikiLeaks documents on some level or another.

Defense Witness #35: Witness 1

Defense Witness #36: Witness 2

Two witness statements from former employees of David Morales’ UC Global firm were read in court today. The best thing you can do is read Max Blumenthal’s article, “‘The American Friends’: New Court Files Expose Sheldon Adelson’s Security Team in US Spy Operation Against Julian Assange,” for the complete lowdown on this story which is that the CIA spied on Assange and all of his guests (including attorneys) at the Ecuadorian embassy in London via 24/7 livestream.

Update: Read Witness 1 and Witness 2’s statements HERE


The U.S. Illegally Spied on Assange and His Attorneys

The UK court refuses to dismiss the US extradition request for Assange despite the fact they illegally spied on him, breached confidential meetings between Assange and his attorneys, and plotted to kidnap or kill him. Read


Or read the court documents from the Spanish case against David Morales:

Defense Witness #37: Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky’s witness statement was read today in court in which he discussed whether or not the U.S. prosecution of Assange was political. I haven’t found Chomsky’s full statement yet but you can check out journalist James Doleman’s thread:

Defense Witness #38: Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist Andy Worthington’s witness statement was read in court today. He partnered with WikiLeaks on the Guantanamo Files and he says that the documents were extremely important and are still used today. They “revealed the anatomy of a crime of enormous proportions,” he stated.

Defense Witness #39: Jameel Jaffer

The witness statement of human and civil rights attorney Jameel Jaffer was read in court today. He is the director of the Knight First Amendment Institute. According to Doleman, “”Indictment of Mr Assange poses a grave threat to journalistic freedom, he is being prosecuted for activities that are fundamental to national security reporting such as encouraging sources and protecting their identities” and “[The Espionage Act] “is a loaded gun pointed at the head of reporters and publishers.”

Odds and Ends

A head’s up, it’s been reported that the defense may only have two more witness statements to read and that the hearing might be done tomorrow. I’m a little bummed that more time wasn’t spent on the spying in the Ecuadorian embassy but what can you do? Also, I have no idea what this means but if witness statements are now purposely being withheld (outside of medical) this is beyond shocking and absurd. However, I’m assuming it’s to make sure the statement isn’t released before the court hears it because we generally haven’t had a problem with journalists releasing the statements eventually (again, not including medical which the judge rules would not be released).

Twitter Sources

The Twitter users I followed today that I want to give a special thanks to for covering the hearing and that were used as my source material include (these guys and gals do the heavy lifting so we don’t have to):

Please note that @SMaurizi‘s witness statement was read in court today so she is back to covering the hearing.

Daily Updates

Bridges for Media Freedom Daily Court Summary: A.M. SUMMARY and P.M. SUMMARY

Richard Medhurst’s Daily Updates (video) HERE

Mohamed Elmaazi’s Daily Report HERE

@AssangeDefense’s Daily Report HERE and HERE (UC Global)

Articles

“How the Trump Admin Used a Secret Livestream to Spy on Julian Assange.” Jimmysllama via mintpressnews.com

“‘The American Friends’: New Court Files Expose Sheldon Adelson’s Security Team in US Spy Operation Against Julian Assange.” Max Blumenthal via thegrayzone.com

Of Interest

“How Did We Get Here? The Threat of Fascism in U.S.” Davey Heller via ClassConscious.org

“No more appeals to the fascist Trump! The Assange campaign must turn to the working class!” Davey Heller via ClassConscious.org

“The Darkest Corner: Special Administrative Measures and Extreme Isolation in the Federal Bureau of Prisons.” Center For Constitutional Rights

Conditions of Prison in Alexandria, VA via The Justice Campaign (Twitter thread)

“True Crime Chronicles: Inside Colorado’s Supermax Prison.” Daily Blast LIVE (video)

“Wikileaks – USA against Julian Assange (english subtitles)” via ardmediathek.de

Witnesses

  • Day 1 and 2: Mark Feldstein
  • Day 2: Clive Stafford-Smith
  • Day 3: Paul Rogers, Trevor Timm
  • Day 4: Eric Lewis (cancelled)
  • Day 5: Eric Lewis
  • Day 6: Eric Lewis (continued), Thomas Durkin
  • Day 7: John Goetz, Daniel Ellsberg
  • Day 8: John Sloboda, Carey Shenkman
  • Day 9:
    • Nicky Hager
    • Jennifer Robinson (statement read in court, no cross-examination)
    • Khaled El-Masri (statement read in court, no cross-examination)
    • Carey Shenkman (continuation from day before)
    • Dean Yates (statement read in court, no cross-examination)
  • Day 10:
    • Christian Grotthoff
    • Andy Worthington (statement read by judge/unclear)
    • Cassandra Fairbanks (statement read in court, no cross-examination)
  • Day 11: Dr. Kopelman
  • Day 12:
    • Dr. Quinton Deeley
    • Seena Fazel
    • Dr. Catherine Humphries
  • Day 13:
    • Dr. Nigel Blackwood
    • Dr. Sandra Crosby
    • Christopher Butler (statement read in court, no cross-examination)
    • John Young (statement read in court, no cross-examination)
  • Day 14:
    • Jakob Austein
    • Patrick Eller
  • Day 15:
    • Yancy Ellis
    • Joel Stickler
  • Day 16:
    • Maureen Baird
    • Lindsay A. Lewis
  • Day 17:
    • Patrick Cockburn
    • Ian Cobain
    • Stefania Maurizi
    • Robert Boyle
    • Bridget Prince
    • Witness 1
    • Witness 2
    • Noam Chomsky
    • Andy Worthing
    • Jameel Jaffer

Attorneys

  • Edward Fitzgerald QC (Assange defense)
  • Mark Summers QC (Assange defense)
  • Jennifer Robinson (Assange defense)
  • Gareth Peirce (Assange defense)
  • Florence Iveson (Assange defense)
  • James Lewis QC (prosecutor for the U.S.)
  • Joel Smith (prosecutor for the U.S.)
  • Claire Dobbin (prosecutor for the U.S.)

Documents

Defense Opening Arguments HERE

Defense Skeleton Arguments HERE and HERE

Prosecution Skeleton Arguments (photos via @MacWBishop) HERE

Prosecution Witness Bundle Including Kromberg Statement (bundle may be subject to change with each witness) HERE

Defense Witness #1 Statement: Professor Mark Feldstein HERE and HERE

Defense Witness #2 Statement: Clive Stafford-Smith HERE

Defense Witness #3 Statement: Paul Rogers HERE

Defense Witness #4 Statement: Trevor Timm HERE

Defense Witness #5 Statement: Eric Lewis

Defense Witness #6 Statement: Thomas Durkin

Defense Witness #7 Statement: John Goetz HERE

Defense Witness #8 Statement: Daniel Ellsberg HERE

Defense Witness #9 Statement: John Sloboda HERE

Defense Witness #10 Statement: Carey Shenkman HERE

Defense Witness #11 Statement: Nicky Hager HERE

Defense Witness Statement #12: Jennifer Robinson HERE

Defense Witness #13 Statement : Khaled El-Masri HERE

Defense Witness #14 Statement: Dean Yates HERE

Defense Witness #15 Statement: Christian Grotthoff HERE

Defense Witness #16 Statement: Andy Worthington HERE

Defense Witness #17 Statement: Cassandra Fairbanks HERE

Defense Witness #18 Statement: Dr. Kopelman (not released)

Defense Witness #19 Statement: Dr. Quinton Deeley (not released)

Prosecution Witness #1 Statement: Seena Fazel (not released)

Defense Witness #20: Dr. Catherine Humphries (not released)

Prosecution Witness #2 Statement: Dr. Nigel Blackwood (not released)

Defense Witness #21 Statement: Dr. Sandra Crosby (not released)

Defense Witness #22 Statement: Christopher Butler HERE

Defense Witness #23 Statement: John Young HERE

Defense Witness #24 Statement: Jakob Austein HERE

Defense Witness #25 Statement: Patrick Eller HERE

Defense Witness #26 Statement: Yancy Ellis

Defense Witness #27 Statement: Joel Stickler HERE

Defense Witness #28 Statement: Maureen Baird

Defense Witness #29 Statement: Lindsay A. Lewis

Defense Witness #30 Statement: Patrick Cockburn

Defense Witness #31 Statement: Ian Cobain

Defense Witness #32 Statement: Stefania Maurizi

Defense Witness #33 Statement: Robert Boyle

Defense Witness #34 Statement: Bridget Prince

Defense Witness #35 Statement: Witness 1 HERE

Defense Witness #36 Statement: Witness 2 HERE

Defense Witness #37 Statement: Noam Chomsky

Defense Witness #38 Statement: Andy Worthingon HERE

Defense Witness #39 Statement: Jameel Jaffer

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